Eleanor and Park: My Book Review and My Thoughts (Spoiler Alert)

|
Eleanor and Park is a young adult romance lit by Rainbow Rowell published February 2013.  Even though young adult romance covers around 14-18 years old, I have a lot of adult friends who were raving about this book. 

It is a story a story of first love between two star-crossed young lovers Park Sheridan and Eleanor Douglas.  The setting is a school year in 1986.  They are considered misfits and are around 15-16 years old.  

Park Sheridan is a 15-year old boy, a comic book fan and music fan born to an Irish-American father who served in Korea and Korean mother.  He has a very nice family and comfortable home.  He was taken care of more than the typical kids his age.  He had a twin-sized waterbed and a Ferrari-shaped telephone.  Although he is quite shy and geeky unlike his sport-loving family, he doesn't seem to fall short on the looks department either.  He had green eyes and yellowish skin.  I envision him as someone who is good-looking as the most popular girl in school, Tina, chose him to be her first boyfriend.

On the other hand, Eleanor Douglas is the new a red-haired girl in school.  She is the oldest of five children with an abusive step-father named Richie.  She hates the way she looks and very low self-esteem.  She had chubby freckled cheeks.  She was heavy built, fat and probably stocky.  She has a weird sense of fashion which makes her noticeably not in an admirable way.  Park describes as "gypsy hobo".   

You can see the character and story development from the moment the two met on the bus...   

Park was very consistent with his feelings.  It started with him being embarrassed for the way she looks.  Then, he started to talk to her and caring for her.  First, as they read comic books together, he sees to it that she's finished before he turns the page.  He then began preparing and lending her comic books.  Then, he lent his walkman and soon began preparing tapes for her.  He began noticing her presence even at school.  He visited her at home.  

His bold moves began when he held Eleanor's hand in Chapter 15: Park
"Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.

As soon as he touched her, he wondered how he’d gone this long without doing it. He rubbed his thumb through her palm and up her fingers, and was aware of her every breath.

Park had held hands with girls before. Girls at Skateland. A girl at the ninth-grade dance last year. (They’d kissed while they waited for her dad to pick them up.) He’d even held Tina’s hand, back when they ‘went’ together in the sixth grade.

And always, before, it had been fine. Not much different from holding Josh’s hand when they were little kids crossing the street.  Holding his grandma’s hand when she took him to church. Maybe a little sweatier, a little more awkward.
When he’d kissed that girl last year, with his mouth dry and his eyes mostly open, Park had wondered if maybe there was something wrong with him.

He’d even wondered – seriously, while he was kissing her, he’d wondered this – whether he might be gay. Except he didn’t feel like kissing any guys either. And if he thought about She-Hulk or Storm (instead of this girl, Dawn) the kissing got a lot better.

Maybe I’m not attracted to real girls, he’d thought at the time. Maybe I’m some sort of perverted cartoon-sexual.

Or maybe, he thought now, he just didn’t recognize all those other girls. The way a computer drive will spit out a disk if it doesn’t recognize the formatting.

When he touched Eleanor’s hand, he recognized her. He knew."

I love how it was depicted in this chapter that Eleanor was not the first hand Park held.  Park has been with other girls and even kissed them.  But, none of those ever felt like anything to him before Eleanor so it was like an awakening of feelings for him.  From here it is clear that his first love is Eleanor.

I guess it came as something unexpected for Park and his immediate reaction was to be afraid of people knowing he liked Eleanor.  Yet, he couldn't stop yearning for her attention.  During non-school days, she kept thinking of and missing Eleanor.  Park develops an attraction over Eleanor.  On Chapter 17: Park:
"Park whipped his head around. Eleanor. Smiling at him.She had the kind of smile you see in toothpaste commercials, where you can see practically all of somebody’s teeth. She should smile like that all the time, Park thought; it made her face cross over from weird to beautiful. He wanted to make her smile like that constantly."

Park begins to be cheesy! =p  On Chapter 18: Eleanor Park said:  "Don’t be mad at me, he said, sighing. ‘It makes me crazy."
When Park found out that someone has been scribbling on her books, he felt defensive and protective over her.  Then, they began having daily phone calls which showed how crazy he is for her.   

Another big part unfolds when Park invited Eleanor in his home.  Park was proud of her and got angry at her for being too ashamed for who and what she looked like.  Park even thought of breaking up with her because he knew she was too insecure.  That was the right logical move but he let his feelings dissuade him and allowed himself to fall even deeper. 

Park was very cool on Chapter 22 where he kicked Steve on the face for teasing the both of them and said "Leave … my girlfriend … alone."  (Park's Wednesday Taekwondo classes paid off) Although Eleanor thought that it was Park was doing it for himself because it made it embarrassing for him to be with her, I'm with Park that it was really affecting Eleanor thinking that she is not good enough for Park so Park did the right thing.  That part also exhibited the bro code among guys.  Steve respected Eleanor as soon as Park established in public that Eleanor is his girlfriend.

Park is very understanding and realistic as shown in Chapter 27: Eleanor: 
"I’m sorry about yesterday,’ she said. He hung onto his straps and shrugged.‘Yesterday happens."

On Chapter 28: Park quotes:
"Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something"
  • I have a personal comment about this...  I told my guy friend that when I fall in love with a guy, even if he isn't good looking, he becomes attractive to me as if he becomes my standard of attractiveness.  My girl friends also agree to this.  I wonder if this is what Park meant by this.  According to my guy friend, it doesn't work that way for guys.  He says that attractiveness for guys is based on general standards.  He also added that they are biologically wired that way and it assures their happiness in marriage. 
When Park's family didn't like Eleanor at first, Park held on until they eventually accepted her.  I also admired Park for being honest about his past with Tina when he was 12.   He even assured her that it was it for him.  He wanted her to be the last person he kisses.  But, Eleanor was not cool about it.

While Park is consistent in pursuing Eleanor, Eleanor's negativity sadly affected Park thereby creating his own uncertainties to like in Chapter:30 Park:
"He’d thought he was over caring what people thought about him. He’d thought that loving Eleanor proved that. But he kept finding new pockets of shallow inside himself. He kept finding new ways to betray her. "

And, even though I really think it was Eleanor's fault.  Park was the one to apologize for his PAST!  I thought that was not fair but I believe love is like that.  You desperately try to make it work that you lose track of whose giving more, which is fair and what not. 

Park was sweet to gift her a necklace.  He also understands and defended Eleanor when his mom suggested on giving her a make over.  He also assures her that he likes her the way she is.  I thought it was a weird stunt that he wore make up just to prove something to his family and Eleanor though.  But, it showed how confident he is with himself and how much he would fight for EleanorPark was also sexually attracted to Eleanor and he made advances but his and his family's respect for her is more important to him.  While Eleanor was not the type who'd share her problems with ParkPark stood by her.  When she needed to leave for her own safety, Park drove her to her uncle.

I think an essential requisite to a relationship is believing and Park firmly believes in love against all odds because he had parents who he cites as an example on Chapter 53: Park:
"What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? he wondered. Someoneyou could love forever, someone who would forever love you back? And what did you dowhen that person was born half a world away?The math seemed impossible. How did his parents get so lucky? They couldn’t have felt lucky at the time. His dad’s brother had just died in Vietnam; that’s why they sent his dad to Korea. And when his parents got married, his mom had to leave everything and everyone she loved behind."

Park wrote Eleanor so many letters which she never responded to.  She only wrote one letter with three words on the ending... (It was not revealed thus, a hanging ending but I'd like to think that she finally overcame her insecurities and it would say "I miss you" or "I love you" because Park still hasn't given up on her)

Overall, I really like the character of Park. He really loved Eleanor and was willing to fight for her in full confidence.

Sadly, I couldn't say the same for Eleanor.  She was so insecure.  She creates her own demons which made the argue unnecessarily.  Her uncertainties affected Park in a negative way.  She didn't want to acknowledge her feelings for Park or their chemistry together.  There were moments when she even hated them.  She tried her best not to show her affection to him despite him pursuing her all along.  She was clearly not ready for a relationship.  As shown in the following quotes:

Chapter 14: Eleanor
"She rolled her eyes again. She knew Mr Stessman’s game by now.‘Romeo and Juliet are just two rich kids who’ve always gotten every little thing theywanted. And now, they
they want each other.’‘They’re in love …’ Mr Stessman said, clutching his heart.‘They don’t even know each other,’ she said.‘It was love at first sight.’‘It was “Oh my God, he’s so cute” at first sight. If Shakespeare wanted you to believe they were in love, he wouldn’t tell you in almost the very first scene that Romeo was hung up on Rosaline … "
- This showed that Eleanor doesn't believe in love in the first place and till the end she had a hard time in accepting it.

Chapter 14: Eleanor
"Every morning when Eleanor got on the bus, she worried that Park wouldn’t takeoff his headphones. That he would stop talking to her as suddenly as he’d started … And if that happened – if she got on the bus one day and he didn’t look up – she didn’t want him to see how devastated it would make her.So far, it hadn’t happened. So far, they hadn’t stopped talking. Like, literally. They talked every second they were sitting next to each other. And almost every conversation started with the words ‘what do you think …’What did Eleanor think about that U2 album? She loved it.What did Park think of Miami Vice? He thought it was boring.‘Yes,’ they said when they agreed with each other. Back and forth – ‘Yes,’Yes Yes!’‘I know.’ Exactly.’Right?
They agreed about everything important and argued about everything else. And that was good, too, because whenever they argued, Eleanor could always crack Park up."
- This showed her fears despite their wonderful chemistry.  But at this point,her frustration is excusable because Park hasn't made any direct moves yet.

Chapter 16: Eleanor
"Besides they didn’t just hold hands. Park touched her hands like they were something rare and precious, like her fingers were intimately connected to the rest of her  body. Which, of course, they were. It was hard to explain. He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts." - Finally Park made his move, but instead of letting herself feel great, she avoid Park.   This clearly indicates she wasn't ready for this at all.  And, this struggle kept on going.

Chapter 17: Eleanor
"Who knows what he missed. Her fatness. Her weirdness. The fact that she couldn’t talk to him like a regular person. Whatever. Whatever perversion caused him to like her was his problem. But he did like her, she was sure of it. At least for now. For today. He liked her. He missed her." - She knew Park was different.  Yet, her tone was always temporary and negative. It didn't sound like she wanted to fight for the relationship. 

Chapter 19: Park
"I don’t like you, Park,’ she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. ‘I…’ – her voice nearly disappeared – ‘sometimes I think I live for you.’ He closed his eyes and arched his head back into his pillow.‘I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,’ she whispered. ‘Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath. That’s probably why I’m so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?" - The first part was good.  But, the last sentences were again so negative.  And, it sounds so calculative.  As sweet as the first part is,  I don't support her view of love from the last part.  I believe that when you truly love someone, you just give your best without expecting anything in return.  You lose sight of others' opinions, pride, fear, insecurities because you can't help but be the best version of you so you can give more.

Chapter 19: Eleanor
"Damn, damn, damn,’ she said. ‘I never said why I like you, and now I have to go.’‘That’s okay,’ he said.‘It’s because you’re kind,’ she said. ‘And because you get all my jokes …’‘Okay,’ he laughed.‘And you’re smarter than I am.’‘I am not.’‘And you look like a protagonist.’ She was talking as fast as she could think. ‘You look like the person who wins in the end. You’re so pretty, and so good. You have magic eyes,’ she whispered. ‘And you make me feel like a cannibal.’‘You’re crazy.’‘I have to go.’ She leaned over so the receiver was close to the base.
‘Eleanor – wait,’ Park said. She could hear her dad in the kitchen and her heart beat everywhere.‘Eleanor – wait –  I love you.’‘Eleanor?’ her dad was standing in the doorway.  He was being quiet, in case shewas asleep. She hung up the phone and pretended that she was.
" -
Finally, she said it without anything wrong.  Park told her he loved her yet she never said it back. 

Chapter 21:Eleanor
"It was just too much. Meeting his pretty, perfect mom. Seeing his normal, perfecthouse. Eleanor hadn’t known there were houses like that in this crappy neighborhood – houses with wall-to-wall carpeting and little baskets of potpourri everywhere. She didn’t know there were families like that. The only upside to living in this effed-up neighborhoodwas that everybody else was effed up, too. The other kids might hate Eleanor for being bigand weird, but they weren’t going to hate on her for having a broken family and a broke-down house. That was kind of the rule around here.Park’s family didn’t fit. They were the Cleavers. And he’d told her that his grandparents lived in the house next door, which had flower boxes, for Christ’s sake. His family was practically the Waltons. Eleanor’s family had been messed up even before Richie came around and senteverything straight to hell.She would never belong in Park’s living room. She never felt like she belonged anywhere, except for when she was lying on her bed, pretending to be somewhere else." - The insecurities keeps piling up.

Chapter 26: Eleanor 

"Did she miss him?She wanted to lose herself in him. To tie his arms around her like a tourniquet. If she showed him how much she needed him, he’d run away."  - Again she has this weird negative denial phase.  He's already there and consistently pursuing her.  Yet, it's as if she was never convinced.  (I hate her!  She always sees things to be just about her...)

Chapter 52: Eleanor
"There’s only one of him, she thought, and he’s right here.  He knows I’ll like a song before I’ve heard it. He laughs before I even get to the punchline. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes me want to let him open doors for me. There’s only one of him." - Another evidence of their chemistry...

Chapter 53: Park
"He climbed up and sat next to her.‘Hey,’ he said.‘Hey.’He pushed his shoulder up against hers and nearly wept with relief when she laidher head against him. Weeping again today seemed wholly inevitable.‘Do you really believe that?’ she asked.‘What?’‘That … we’ll have other chances? That we have any chance at all?’‘Yes.’‘No matter what happens,’ she said forcefully, ‘I’m not coming home.’‘I know.’She was quiet.‘No matter what happens,’ Park said, ‘I love you.’She put her arms around his waist, and he hugged her shoulders.‘I just can’t believe that life would give us to each other,’ he said, ‘and then take it back.’‘I can,’ she said. ‘Life’s a bastard.’He held her tighter, and pushed his face into her neck.‘But it’s up to us …’ he said softly. ‘It’s up to us not to lose this." - That's a lame way to deflame Park's fighting spirit but bravo to Park for not being subdued.

Chapter 54:Eleanor
"Stupid Asian kid. Stupid, beautiful Asian kid.Thank God she couldn’t make her mouth work right now, because if she could there’d be no end to the melodramatic garbage she’d say to him.She was pretty sure she’d thank him for saving her life. Not just yesterday, but, like, practically every day since they’d met. Which made her feel like the dumbest, weakest girl.If you can’t save your own life, is it even worth saving?
There’s no such thing as handsome princes, she told herself. There’s no such thing as happily ever after .She looked up at Park. Into his golden green eyes.You saved my life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I’m yours. The me that’s me right now is yours. Always.
" - After all Park's assurance, she still isn't convinced!

Chapter 55:Eleanor
"They were just going to stop. Park was never going to love her more than he did on the day they said goodbye.And she couldn’t bear to think of him loving her less." - Grrr!!!
She is so selfish here. =(

Overall,  Eleanor and Park is a good read.  I really delved into the story and was emotionally affected.  I can't believe how stupid Eleanor is and she thinks she's so smart to know that love doesn't last when it's really all because of her.  But, what made this book a huge success is probably because of Park.  The character of Park gives hope to every girl out there who is beautiful in other ways but not in terms.  Park goes against the dynamics of reality where guys are genetically engineered to base attraction on looks. This is scientifically ground that beauty is inline with health and reproduction.  Perhaps, Eleanor knows this fact which is why she is scared and unfortunately in the process, hurting Park and making him pay for the price of going against the laws of biology and society.  I have a lot of guy friends and with all respect, they are really good caring and nice guys and some I can even trust with my life.  But, none of them, regardless of age, are like Park who can find and be happily satisfied with beauty beyond looks and have the courage to fight for it against social pressure despite their prideful nature and be illogical as to go against their biological system too.  Perhaps men like Park are proofs that love is not something we feel because we are design to reproduce and to survive.  And ironically, its not just men who are wired that way, if Park and Eleneor were real, you'd ridicule against them based on looks too like say Clive Owen?  Women judge one another and objectify ourselves in terms of beauty too.  But, I'm a firm believer that everyone is beautiful in their own way and that it may be rare, but there will be someone out there who will find you beautiful both in looks and in other aspects.  I've seen happy couples like Eleanor and Park who lived happily ever after

Christmas Season Preparation

|
The Christmas Season is finally here!  For me, Christmas time is the most special time of the year.  You can really see how strong and festive the Filipino spirit is.  Despite all the hardships and calamities that occurred, you can always expect a Christmas celebration for everyone still. 

Stores, house, streets and parks are filled with Christmas decor and bright lights.  There's also the expected Christmas rush as busy shoppers search for presents for their loved ones.  My creativity is put on a workout with all the Kris Kringle and exchange gifts.  And, the best part of all are Christmas parties!  I'm sure you'll have endless party invites for the entire month whether it's with work, friends or family. 
cocktail dress from Zalora
Of course, we ladies don't just eat at parties, we also dress to impress as we mingle.  It's better to check your wardrobe for the best dresses before those invites rush it.  If you don't have anything planned yet, you still have time to shop or online shop to avoid the Christmas rush.  Check out this cocktail dress from Zalora!  Ain't it affordable and nice?  

Electrolux and Mommy Mundo: Clothes for Hope Drive

|
After launching it's recent Wear Your Passion Campaign represented by digital brand ambassadors: Celebrity Mom Cheska Garcia-Kramer, Mommy Mundo's Janice Villanueva and Chef Rosebud, leading home applicable brand Electrolux in partnership with ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya and Mommy Mundo joins together for the Clothes for Hope Donation Drive.

I'm glad that they are doing such a nice thing for the Filipinos who have braved through one natural disaster after another.  A lot of us have been shaken by the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu.  But, more lives were even struck by the arrival of super typhoon Yolanda and its rampage. 

So let's support thm by dropping off our pre-loved clothes, blankets and towels.  Electrolux will have them washed, dried and folded and delivered to ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya fresh and clean.

Drop-off Centers are:
  • Electrolux Customer Service Hub, Makati City
  • Mommy Mundo Office, Pasig City
  • Numa Store, Quezon City; Alabang, Muntinlupa City
  • Promosphere Inc, Mandaluyong City
  • Universal Promo Specialists, Inc, Mandaluyong City
  • Mommy Mundo Bazaar on Dec 8, 2013 at Rockwell Tent, Makati City

TriNoma Mall: TriNoma Merry Musical Lights Show and College Reminisce

|
Last Saturday November 23, 2013, I had one of the most memorable moments of my life.  I reunited with my two seatmates, Eric and Chez, from my college ACTONEA class after many years.  Eric is my closest guy buddy since college days.  I wouldn't have survived college without him.  As for Chez, uhm... regretfully, we didn't get along till a few years back and I think we've gotten well enough since.  As the two were kind of close, we decided to spontaneously meet up for the first time as a three-some.  We ate dinner at Yoshinoya and spent hours updating each other about what happened to us during college and beyond.  It is such an amazing sensation to laugh about our hardships and share our realizations.  

I can't believe Eric still remembered how much of a klutz I was back then. =( I borrowed his work sheet to "double check".  Then on the day of our submission, I brought mine but forgot his!  So, I had to head home to get it. @_@  Good thing, that guy does not know anger and instead laughed about it. >.<

After which I invited them to accompany to watch the TriNoma Merry Musical Lights Show.  Despite the long walk, these two gentlemen gladly abide after bribing them with alcohol lol. XD  But, kidding aside... even though these guys look too cool, they are really nice and warm-hearted.  I'm lucky to be fated to meet them as they are a few of the greatest guys I've ever met.  With their wisdom and kindness, I consider them my trusted friends and more importantly, my mentors in different aspects of life.  

trinoma merry musical lights show

According to TriNoma's fan page, the show's schedule is at 7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm from today until Jan 5, 2013.  We arrived there a bit later than 9 pm but we made it.  

trinoma merry musical lights show
There were Christmas Lights draped all over the TriNoma Gardens with glowing orbs.  Music with gleeful high tones were played as the lights changed colors and in rhythmic pattern.

trinoma merry musical lights show
Due to the limited area space, it was not as awesome as the one in Ayala Triangle Gardens.  But, if you're in the area then take the chance to watch.  It's a good thing there's not much of a crowd during our visit as it was not as ventilated as I expected. 

trinoma merry musical lights show
It only lasted around 10 minutes.  But the lights were left on for another 10 for picture taking purposes.

Watch my TriNoma Merry Musical Lights Show video preview above

As expected, the guys did not appreciate the show.  And, it turned out that the ramen restaurant we were supposed to visit was still closed so they were a bit bitter and teased about it.  To uplift our spirits and to make up for such bullying haha, Chez offered to treat us and as expected, Eric chimed in.  We then hopped our way to Gerry's Grill until wee hours beyond my curfew. XD 

Overall, it was tons of fun! =D  I hope we get to do it again soon.  But, it may take many years again as these guys are too busy and mature as they focus on their careers and preparation for marriage haha. Time sure flies by so fast whew!

Gemma Artenton from Hansel and Gretel's Witch Hunter to a Sexed-up Vampire in "Byzantium"

|
By Jamie Neish

British-born Gemma Arterton has quickly been rising through the ranks since breaking  out in St Trinian’s six years ago. Her latest role, as a sexed-up vampire in Neil Jordan’s Byzantium, sees her try something completely different.

Byzantium centers on two mysterious women, Clara (Arterton) and Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), who seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. However, when Eleanor reveals their secret, that they’re 200 year-old vampires, to Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), it’s not long before their past catches up on them with deadly consequences.

You’ve done period drama, action adventure and Bond. What was it about Moira Buffini’s script that made you decide it was a vampire film you wanted to do next?

Well, the original script I read was much more about the mother and daughter relationship between Clara and Eleanor and only hinted at the vampire stuff. But when Neil [Jordan] came aboard, he wanted to make it more of a genre piece. For me, it was never just, “Oh, it’s a vampire movie”, it was much more about the characters at its core,  what it was like to be a trapped, ageless mother having to care for her daughter. And the genre elements sort of fed into that. It’s probably the first film I’ve done that’s more in line with what I like to watch, which is anything supernatural and fairytale-like.

Are you much of a horror fan yourself, then?

I wouldn’t say I go to see horror films for the sake of seeing a horror film, but I’ve always been fascinating by the genre because it always makes you feel something.  But I wouldn’t go to see a horror film because it’s got a lot of gore in it. I’m much more interested in the stuff underneath the surface. I think it’s such a broad term, horror, and even this film is more art-house horror.

What research was involved to play Clara?

I had to learn to lap dance, that way the first thing. I made up a whole pole dance because I wasn’t sure how much I would need. I watched a lot of documentaries on brothels and what it was like for people to live that way, the day to day. That was what I was least familiar with, so I wanted to make sure I was able to portray that side of Clara as accurately as possible. And then there was a lot of physical preparation. I had to do a lot of training because vampires are obviously incredibly strong, so I needed to be able to have a convincing creature-like presence. We also did a lot of work on the script together, Saoirse and I, for a couple of months before filming started to get that relationship are strong as possible.


It sounds as though you had a lot of time to develop a relationship with Saoirse.

Yeah, yeah. We had a rehearsal in London two months before production began and that was the first time I met Saoirse. Our relationship was very natural, very touchy feely, plating her hair and playing with her face. But we didn’t have any bonding sessions, no shopping or bowling trips.

 What was it like to work with Neil? He’s quite experienced in the horror genre. Did you feel intimidated at all?

Yeah. I think when you work with someone who you’ve admired for so long, it’s only natural to feel nervous. But once I’d gotten over those initial nerves, it became such a joy to work with him. And I think we’re going to work together again, which is very flattering. It was a great relationship that we had. He’s very interested in actors. He loves the process and has a huge amount of respect for the profession, which again made the working relationship easier. He’s constantly pushing the boundaries and very vibrant with his direction, which makes you want to work harder and to figure out how you can take what you’re doing to the next level. It was a magical experience, a very  playful environment.

“Byzantium” is released and distributed by Captive Cinema.
Showing November 27, 2013

Miss Earth Candidates Dine at Yoshinoya Glorietta 1

|
Last night, I was with fellow friends to meet and greet a batch of Miss Earth Candidates at Yoshinoya Glorietta 1
I've always been an environmentalist at heart so I fully support Miss Earth being a beauty pageant for environmental awareness.  As their motto goes "Beauty for a Cause".  Moreover, we should be proud that the crowned Miss Earth has to reside in Manila during her reign as it is headquartered here.  I can still recall two years ago when we shared having a fun run with Miss Earth Candidates?  That was inspirational.

They had a fulfilling meal of Kani Salad and Beef Bowl or Sesame Beef Bowl.  I've always been a fan of their Beef Bowl as I've shared before.

There were all so nice and friendly with wide smiles.

They played a game of picking up marshmallows with chopsticks.  They were very lively and energetic as their eyes glittered in excitement.

I'm impressed at how game they were despite being tall, sexy and beautiful.

They were divided into three teams.  Each had a plateful of marshmallows set on a table.

Team two won themselves Yoshinoya mugs.

Team 2 is so pleased with their prize.

They are kind of gleeful and playful.

Miss Nepal is stands out among the team as full of bursting personality.

The Yoshinoya Crew are so happy that they get to share an awesome night with Miss Earth Candidates.

Avoid the Christmas Rush by Starting Early

|
Christmas is one of the most awaited time of the year as it is the season where we can enjoy feasting and the joy of giving.  As the "BER" months approached, we can see Christmas decors being put up and Christmas songs can be heard more often as we near Christmas day.

Since Christmas only happens once a year, we want to make the best out of it.  I take gift-giving quite seriously.  But, I hate the Christmas rush.  So to avoid it, I start as early as I can.  I'm composing my Christmas gift list and shopping list as early as now.  I've thought of giving educational toys for my toddler nephews and niece.  For my cousins  who are in their teenage years, I'll shop for fashionable clothes.  I'll get something useful for our employees and staffs.  It's quite challenging to pick gifts for my close friends and classmates because their interests vary from beauty to tech.  Then, theirs also family members and relatives. 

As the family is growing and my network of friends are expanding, my list getting longer each year.  And, that entails more shopping hours and spending.  The only way I could accomplish such task at hand is to shop at a one-stop-shop where I can find all my needs at an affordable price.  I'm going to Tutuban Center where I can get tons of gift ideas.  I'll beat the Christmas rush by heading there as soon as possible too.

Bensimon Sneakers: My OOTD with Parisian Aesthetics and Taste of Basics

|
As an ultimate adventurous with a vast array of interests, I'm consider myself as having a fast-paced lifestyle similar to the Parisians.  Thus, I am very pleased that Parisian brand Bensimon Sneakers has arrived in the Philippines to meet my need as a student, traveler and a foodie who is also off to explore.

bensimon sneakers
It has a classic sneaker design which embodies what the true Parisian love of life is - simple, effortless and natural.  I love the rugged feel of the sneakers.  It is very comfortable to wear.   Yet, still with a touch of style.

bensimon sneakers
There are so many colors available which makes it an ideal companion for every day living.  I think there are around 26 colors!  I'm sure you'll find a match for any type of outfit with that right?

bensimon sneakers

What I like most about it is that its very flexible that you can fold it!  You can bring it in any of your travels.  Share you travel photos with your Bensimon Sneakers on Instagram by using #BENSIMONLANDMARKS and #BENSIMONPh.  There are lots of cool and creative shots there. =D

bensimon sneakers
These past few days, I've been hanging out with fashion blogger Justin of Twatome.com and he was teasing me of doing a fashion post. #OOTD  I told him sure why not haha!  Thus ladies and gentlemen, my very first fashion post captured spontaneously on our own backyard. LOL XD

bensimon sneakers
Hmm... what do you think?  If feedback is good, I can probably post more in the future. =)

bensimon sneakers
See how the Bensimon Sneakers stylishly complements my chic, casual and comfortable get up?

bensimon sneakers
Bensimon Sneakers are reasonably priced at around 2,095 to 2,565 for the men's and women's line and 1,295 to 1,795 for kids.  They are available at the following stores:
  • Rustan's
  • Center of Gravity
  • Shoe Salon
  • Shoe Thing

5th Annual World Pneumonia Day: Fifth Birthday Dance and More!

|
Pneumonia is a serious disease that has claimed the lives of 1.1 million children worldwide in 2012 alone.  For children below 5 yeas old, pneumonia tops as the cause of death because it is usually neglected and diagnosed as "mere fever".  It outnumbers AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

Unfortunately out of the 29% child deaths that pneumonia and diarrhea has caused, 99% occurs in a developing country like the Philippines.  Thus, Millennium Development Goal 4 seeks to prevent and control pneumonia and diarrhea by reducing two-thirds of child mortality between 1990 to 2015 so that more children will be celebrating their 5th birthdays.

fifth Annual World Pneumonia Day
Fifth Birthday Dance
The Department of Health (DOH) showed its support by the observance of the 5th Annual World Pneumonia Day where Assistance Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag lead the Fifth Birthday Dance together with the Manuevers.  

5th annual world pneumonia day
Dr. Eric and the Manuevers

The event was organized by Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV) headed by Executive Director, Dr. Lulu Bravo and its President Dr. May Montellano.  

5th annual world pneumonia day
Five infants from Tagaytay City were given pneumococcal conjugate vaccines designed to protect them against pneumonia.

5th annual world pneumonia day
 Now cute little kids like this boy will celebrate their 5th birthdays!

5th annual world pneumonia day
birthday candle blowing ceremony with Dr. Eric Tayag
There was also a symbolic birthday candle blowing ceremony.

5th annual world pneumonia day
The event also coincides with the PVF's 14 Philippine National Immunization Conference.

5th annual world pneumonia day
The night earlier, my friends Hana and Cha also participated in the dance practice.

Hana and Cha getting to the beat
Despite the cool winds of super typhoon Yolanda, we were almost breaking into sweat.

Hana and Cha at the Back Left
Hana in gray jacket and me with the brown jacket
But, Dr. Eric Tayag seemed to be at ease with his grooves. 

How to Tactfully Address a Controversial Topic

|
You want to add a little more "edge" on your blog, but you're not sure how to go about doing that without upsetting your loyal fan base. First of all, your loyal fans won't ever hate you for being controversial - they're loyal after all. However, you might loose people at the margins who could go either way on you at this point. If you want to keep those readers, your best bet is to handle controversial topics in a tactful way.

Outline The Issue

Most people will be hopelessly lost if you just go full-on like a bull in a china shop. You can come out swinging in your introduction with something controversial, but be prepared to back-peddle a bit so that you can explain the essential nature of the issue at hand.

It's important that your readers know what it is that you take issue with. To do that, it's often helpful to outline the controversial topic at hand and explain the prevailing view (make sure you actually capture the essence of the view rather than your spin on it). In a way, you sort of have to present an argument for the conventional wisdom of the topic at hand before you smash it.

For example, let's say you own a blog about diet and fitness. You want to smash the conventional wisdom that says that saturated fat is bad for you. Before you present your controversial idea, you must make an opening argument for the conventional wisdom. Present the best ideas in favor of that view. It makes it easier to reference those ideas later in the article, and it gives you something to argue against later - not all readers will understand every element of the topic you're discussing.

Some readers will already agree with the prevailing view. If you hope to get them thinking about what you have to say, you have to first show them that you understand where they are coming from. Understanding their view is the best way to do that.

Nail The Conventional View With Your Own

Once you've done a good job outlining the issue, and explaining the conventional thinking on that issue, it's time to smash it. You can really pull out all the stops here. Don't make personal attacks, but really rip into the idea itself. Present your view in total. Make sure there's a stark contrast between the conventional view and your view.

The more different your view, the better. Controversial views aren't just different from some prevailing view, they're radically different and they're extreme. For example, if you hold the view that conventional dieting doesn't work, and that saturated fat isn't the devil, be prepared to say so. Be willing and able to say that not only is saturated fat not bad for you, but that it is good for you.

Say that the entire premise of low-fat dieting or vegetarianism or veganism or any other prevailing view is wrong.

Give Facts To Support Your View

Now that you've made your controversial statement, it's time to back it up. In this example, you would search PubMed or some other online site devoted to medical research. Pull up studies showing that there's no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease, for example. The more studies you can find, the better. The more facts you provide, the better. Your position should be backed by so many facts, well-designed studies, and references that it's virtually impossible for anyone to make a case against you.

Laura Spicer is a public relations guru. She frequently shares her best tips for better PR skills on small business blogs. For faster internet, visit the InternetProviders.us and get familiar with their service.

Makati After Dark: A Participating Runner's Experience

|
Last October 31, 2013, I was invited along with many other bloggers to participate in the Makati After Dark Run.  We were told by Ed Uy, the PR (NOT organizer) for the event, that the media wave will start at 8 pm.  I was really quite hesitant to go since its a family tradition to go to cemetery on Nov 1, the next day, early.  But a co-blogger Christian Melanie Lee, promised that it will be a lot of fun since many of the bloggers as well as the media will be there.  I have been to many fun runs before but never with zombie so I decided to give it a go.

I arrived there around 7:30 pm and couldn't contact Ed so I asked the registration for him but they also don't know where he is. 

There was so many scattered zombies on sight but no runners.  I thought maybe it's because they started earlier as the announced stating wave was 6 pm.  The registration tent was really dark and they only made us of cellphone light for the participants to be able to fill up the registration forms. 

Good thing I saw two other bloggers there and they've been passed a message to register as media.  After we registered, we were provided a neon wrist band, a belt with three yellow flags and a choice of drinks: Vitwater or Sunkist.  We were also told to start already.

We didn't know where the starting line is as zombies are scared everywhere.

There were also random people who are not participants who are taking pictures.  There were also media cameramen for various networks such as Solar News who came and left.

The event was quite open and tourists even pass by just to take a photo with the zombies.

I saw some bloggers who volunteered to be zombies there too.  They don't know where to go also so we took some pics first.

My other blogger friends were standing when a zombie suddenly pulled their flag indicating that it was the starting point so they ran ahead of me.  I decided join this group of girls so I have more surviving chance than being on my own.  After all, what I was expecting was a "wave" and we were just a group of five I think.  It's a bit weird that the zombies are moving forward while we were waiting for other runners so we decided to just proceed. 

The make-up of the zombies are really good.

There were so many of zombies just before the first corner that I lost two flags already.

These group of runners decided to stay put and wait for reinforcements as the zombies are too many.

It was really difficult to tell runners or participants as anyone can just walk-in.

As I reached Jupiter st., I was holding on my cellphone on one hand and camera on the other, I was frisked. =(  There were cars on the left side so I had nowhere to go.  I told them I had no more flags but they continued.  I had a gift certificate for milk tea nearby and pocket money safely inside a secured pocket.  But the zombie managed to get the gc and I had to get it back all torn and crumpled.  I didn't realize that my pocket money must've been dropped somewhere until later too. 

I saw fellow a father and daughter runner tandem up ahead and decided to join their walk in returning to the starting point as we didn't have any flags left.  The other zombies were really nice and polite.  They told us they are not allowed to touch or lift shirts and were begging for flags.  We told them we were out of flags but we'll take a picture instead and they were ecstatic about it.

They were water stations along the way.

At around 10 pm, we decided to meet up with all the bloggers there and take photos.

We were really disappointed with the event and decided to go home after so we might as well make the best out of it.

My friends who survived with a flag were told to sign up with their address so that a free shirt will be sent to them.

That's me! The girl on the lower left =)
From this picture, you can see that I am wearing a very long over-sized shirt.  Yet when I went home to take a shower, I realized I had scratches on my right elbow and waist!  I guess I didn't notice that when I was frisked to that extent when it happened.  Frisking is an illegal violation of human rights that even police officers are not allowed to do it without a warrant.  

Before going, we checked out if the concert was about to start and found a photo booth.

There was also these guys. 

The boys had a bit of fun.

There were surprisingly a lot of people dining.  But, they are not the runners you see. 

And, there's a stage but no band just random beats for the enjoyment of those who were dining.   Since we were all dead tired and hungry, the boys invited and treated me to Mc Do for dinner.